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desegregation


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In the USA, the movement to end discrimination against its Black citizens. Many segregation laws were passed in the Southern states after the American Civil War, and they were supported by a Supreme Court decision in 1896 that accepted as constitutional a Louisiana law requiring separate but equal facilities for White and Black people in trains. For the next 50 years, many Southern states continued to use the “separate but equal” rule as an excuse for requiring segregated facilities. With the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909 Black and White Americans began making efforts to end segregation, but they met with fierce resistance from state authorities and White organizations, especially in the South. When World War II saw over one million Black people in active military service change was inevitable, and in 1948 President Truman issued a directive calling for an end to segregation in the forces. It was only with the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s that real social reforms were made. The Supreme Court decision in 1954 that segregation in state schools was illegal as it violated the Fourteenth Amendment (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka) was a landmark. The efforts of Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders and others ended segregation and led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which effectively outlawed legal segregation and ended literacy tests. There were still Black ghettos in the northern cities, but the purely legal obstacles to the equality of the races had essentially been removed.

Subjects: United States History — World History.


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